The Flip Side of Sadness
Anniversary: 9-23

Sit, rest, remember...

     Lee Mannix was a unique trainer and personality, the spirit of the Lee Mannix Center for Canine Behavior.  He made saving dogs from their owners one of his missions.  I first met him when I took my daughter, Annie, to a week-long class about working with dogs.  The class was for individuals facing any and all kinds of challenges.  Realizing Annie was discouraged about her deafness, in his loud (who couldn't hear that voice?), of-course-you-can-do-it way, Lee imagined the possibilities for a dog trainer who happens not to hear.  "Heck, you think dog trainers on movie sets use their voices--it's all signals--it's watching the dogs and signals; @#$%, you could do that!"  Burly--a pretty good way to describe him, burly--with cuss words.
     This burly man called my home after Annie died to offer his condolences.  A few days later, I was told he wanted to dedicate a bench to Annie on his training center grounds.  A few days after that, Lee Mannix died in a car accident.  "The Irish Dogfather," I was told at his memorial service, had been very upset about Annie's death and insisted on having the bench made for her. 
     Several members of his staff, after completing a bench for Lee, followed through on his wish:

      Oakshadows (2)AITbench Annie_inscription (2)
The message for the bench, what I told one of Lee's assistants, is what I imagined Annie would say--she was always telling me to "chill" and I so didn't like hearing it.  I'd listen now: 
     just slow down, have a seat, and hug your dog. 

Thank you:
*Martha, Inka, Jyl, Shari
*so many others whose names I may never know
*Philip Hogatt, owner/carver, and wife, Michele
    Carved Stone, Inc.

Thank you Lee.  Forever.